Sunday, February 15, 2009


MISS PEACE BE WITH YOU. Town beauty, Consuelo "Conching" Mangalus of Barrio San Juan, one of the major winners of the 1946 Sta. Rita Town Fiesta. 22 May 1946.

In 1946, from May 21 to 22, Sta. Rita held its fiesta of all fiestas—a Victory Fiesta to mark not just the feast of their patron, Sta. Rita de Casia, but also to celebrate the independence of the Philippines, finally granted by the United States and scheduled for July 4, less than 2 months away. Pampanga was still rising from the rubbles and ashes of World War II, but with peace in the country, progress was imminent. Sta. Riteños, under their Alcalde Municipal German Galang and their Cura Parroco Rev. P. Pablo Camilo, planned their most lavish fiesta yet, an event now remembered for its pageantry and nationalistic fervor .

A 1946 souvenir fiesta program detailed the activities of the town and its people, starting with the ‘aldo visperas’—May 21. A recitation of the novena to Sta. Rita kicked-off the annual feast day, with a Novena Cantada starting at 4:45 p.m. A little earlier, local bands from San Basilio, Sta Rita and nearby Sasmuan made their entrance to the town at 4 pm. In the evening, the coronation of the major beauty contest winners was held with local color and glamor—Miss Victory (Milagros Dionisio of San Jose), Miss Peace (Consuelo Mangalus of San Juan) and Miss Progress (Lourdes Jingco of Becuran). On hand to crown the royals were Congressman Amado Yuzon, Hon. Zoilo Dizon and the King of Crissotan, Sergio Navarro, who paid poetic tributes to the lovely town belles. A Coronation Ball at midnight capped the first-day festivities.

On the much-awaited fiesta morning of May 22, the church bells rang early in the morning at 4, to announce the start of the day’s events. An hour later, the Misas Rezadas began and at 6 a.m, two Misas Cantadas followed, officiated by Fr. Jose de la Cruz and Fr. Monico Pineda. At 8 a.m, a Misa Dalmatica was held with Fr. Casto Ocampo leading the congregation.

The morning once again saw the musical bands making the rounds of the streets of Sta. Rita, simultaneous with the holding of athletic competitions from 9 a.m to 2 p.m. Then, a spectacular Floral Parade took over the main roads, led by Miss Victory, Miss Peace and Miss Progress, and trailed by the Miss Barrios: Miss Sta. Monica (Bienvenida Zapanta), Miss San Agustin (Francisca Macasias), Miss San Matias (Teresita Ticsay), Miss San Vicente (Lutgarda Guanzon), Miss San Basilio (Tomasa Sangalang), Miss San Isidro (Beatriz Layug) and Miss Dila-Dila (Pilar Amio). Also joining the entourage were Miss Sta. Rita Institute and Miss Sta. Rita Elementary School. The floats bearing the town muses also vied for the “Best Carroza” prize.

In the evening, the century-old image of the town’s titular patron was honored with a candle-lit procession at 8 pm. At 10 pm, a Serenata featuring the bandas de musica gave stirring performances. The winners of the different ligligan (contests) were announced and prizes were given to the deserving participants.

Sta. Rita’s much-talked about 1946 fiesta owes much of its success to the different committee heads and members who discharged their duties with maximum efficacy: Mrs. Irene Pineda for the Funciones Religiosas (Religious Functions),Mr. Alejandro Tayag for the Concurzo de Belleza (Beauty Contest), Mrs. Miguela Lopez for the Decoracion de la Iglesia (Church Décor), Atty. Ramon Miranda for the Decoracion e Iluminacion (Décor and Lights), Mr. Diego Valencia for the Coronacion y Parada (Coronation and Parade), Mr. German Galang for the Juegos Atleticos (Athletic Games) and Mr. Anterio Cruz, who headed the Committee of Manila-based Sta. Riteños. Pulling off the town’s grandest post-war fiesta was certainly a victory for all.


Satcheil-Mannes Ma. Amamangpang said...

Mayap a aldo!

E 'ata "Mangaluz" ing apellidu na? Ahehehe... Apangsinan ke'ang baguiaing retratu na..

alex r. castro said...

Hello! Actually, "Mangaluz" ya, as spelled on the photo. I have the souvenir program from this event, but her name is listed as "Mangalus", evidently Kapampanganized. Thanks for dropping by.